Content Harry Potter Naruto Buffy the Vampire Slayer XMen Translations
  • Previous
  • Next

Author Notes:

In memory of Arthur Gary Sparks

Harry dashed forward and jumped, diving forward so he could catch Dawn’s head before it impacted on the stone.

He carefully pulled her into his arms; she was cold, stone cold. He wrapped the blanket around her.

“Guys,” he said without looking up. “I need your magic, power sharing spell.” He hadn’t even finished the sentence before he was hit by nineteen spells, the extras coming from McGonagall, Dumbledore, Sprout and Flitwick.

“Thanks,” he said, as he felt his magic return to around half his normal level.

“Harry,” Hermione whispered, “is that really her?”

Harry nodded. “This is Dawn Hogwarts,” he whispered back.

“Harry,” Madam Pomfrey called, “do you want me to have a look at her?”

“No,” he replied. “I’ve got this. She’s just tired. It took a lot out of her.” He concentrated and started to slowly and delicately give her his borrowed magic. He was in no hurry, and knew that doing this fast would be counter-productive.

After about two minutes he felt her start to come around. Her head moved slightly, but her eyes didn’t open. She stretched, her hand slipping out of the blanket.

Gabrielle sprinted out of the Great Hall.

Dawn’s lips started to move, whispering words he couldn’t make out, in a voice that was eerily similar to the one that had spoken in his mind earlier.

Gabrielle returned, and she dashed over to him, panting slightly. She was carrying a dress, some underwear and a pair of shoes.

“Some privacy please,” Harry requested.

As before, he had an abundance of help, as multiple privacy charms hit the air around them.

He kept a hold of the blanket, as he lifted Dawn up.

Gabrielle grabbed the knickers and put them in place, so that Harry could drop the blanket. He held Dawn with one hand and helped Gabrielle get the dress on her. Gabrielle then knelt and put the shoes on.

“Gabrielle,” he said.

She looked up at him.

“I am really proud of you,” he said softly. “Well done.”

Gabrielle’s smile was blinding as she beamed at him happily.

“Cancel the spells,” he suggested.

Gabrielle nodded and waved his wand. It reminded him that she really needed her own wand now. He resolved to find time over the weekend.

Dawn’s eyes opened, and she looked around curiously, before gasping. She squirmed, and he placed her on the floor. She turned slowly, taking in the Great Hall, looking at the ceiling.

The ceiling instantly changed to a warm summer’s night, the sun a deep and majestic red, setting slowly in one of the corners.

She raised her hand, and all the lights came back on.

“I have my control,” Dawn whispered. “After all these years, I can move, I can change things as they should be changed. No more straining for the simplest of things!”

She spread her arms and spun on the spot. A matching cyclone appeared on the ceiling and she grinned, before she stopped, the cyclone vanishing, as she looked up at the Professors’ table.

Her eyes scanned down, to the right. “Aurora,” Dawn whispered, as if she were putting a face to a name she knew so well. “The most beautiful professor since I began, with the courage to leap into eternity with us.”

Professor Sinistra blushed, and Harry wondered how she’d handle everyone now knowing her name. And how many male pupils were suddenly going to discover a life-long interest in Astronomy.

“Melissa,” she whispered, as she looked at his table. Her voice sounded as if words were foreign to her, and that the ability to speak was a new one. “Older sister, sneaky and underhanded, but with a heart of gold, you are loyal to the ends of the world for those you deem worthy.”

Melissa actually blushed as she looked at the personification of Hogwarts.

“Christophe, whose knowledge of wine is outdone only by determination to work for what you think is the best way forward for yourself, and those you love.”

Christophe smiled faintly and bowed formally to the girl.

“Hermione, smartest witch in six hundred and forty seven years, when the choice came between your best friend and popular opinion, you did not sway, you stood, unbowed against the world.

“Viktor, taciturn and brusque, hiding an interior of deep and original thought, you put on a show for the world, as if life is a sport and you a performer.”

Viktor and Hermione both had huge smiles and slight blushes as they looked at her.

“Fleur, so beautiful, and you have gained the courage to break your self-imposed boundaries to become what you can, what you must.”

Fleur curtseyed gracefully, favouring Dawn with her best smile.

“Fred and George, catalysts with such unintended consequences, you knew not where the journey would take you, but now that you have caught a tiger, you are holding on, as you will for as long as you do exist.

“Alicia and Angelina, quiet and shy, you look before you leap, and have now decided to leap, and you are thinking of recruiting more.”

The twins looked too shocked to actually respond, while the two girls shot Hogwarts a warm wink.

“Lisa, so pretty and so friendly, and yet the most dangerous of you all. You will protect that which you love, first and foremost.”

Lisa grinned, nodded, and shot Dawn a salute.

“Adrienne, friendship is everything to you, along with Jacque, your taciturn love.

“Chloe, quick to love and quick to change her mind, tempered by Andrew, slow to move, but inexorable when he does.”

The two French students reacted with a bow and a curtsey.

“Smasher, Crusher, Thrasher, and Nasher, you took jobs for money, not realising you would be paid with things a million times better, now you work for love.”

The four boys looked a little uncomfortable, before their backs straightened and they saluted.

“Cedric, my Hufflepuff with a backbone, and Cho, the Ravenclaw who learnt how to have fun, you have broken free of your moulds, and now look at you, the future you desire within reach. You had the courage to reach out.”

The two, now prepared, gave a formal bow and a curtsey to Hogwarts.

“Gabrielle,” Dawn whispered. She moved forward and hugged her. Gabrielle hugged her back, and for a moment, the two girls just held each other. Harry suspected that they were communicating.

Dawn slowly released Gabrielle, and turned to face Harry. “Harry,” she whispered.

He smiled at her.

Dawn burst into tears. “I’m so sorry,” she cried. “I’m so sorry for what I did to you!”

“Dawn,” Harry whispered, “come here.” He opened his arms.

Gabrielle lightly pushed Dawn, and she almost fell the few feet into his arms. She buried her neck in face and sobbed and sobbed, as he hugged her tightly.

Harry looked at Gabrielle, who shrugged, her expression confused.

“It’s okay,” Harry whispered. “Whatever happened, I can deal with it, I promise.”

“You might stop loving me,” Dawn whimpered.

“Harry would never do that,” Hermione said firmly. “I promise you that.”

“Yeah,” Harry agreed.

“Really?” Dawn asked.

He nodded.

Dawn pulled back, and then kissed him, full on the lips, in a completely inappropriate kiss.

There were some rumblings from the gathered students.

“What did you say?” Dawn demanded, looking to the right. She moved out of his arms, and marched forward. Tables separated before her, as she headed directly toward the sneering face of Draco Malfoy.

The wall behind him reached out, grabbing his arms and legs, imprisoning him. He opened his mouth, but it vanished before a sound came out, as Dawn continued her enraged march toward him.

“I don’t like you,” she said, her voice chilling in its intensity and lack of tone.

Harry suddenly realised what she was about to do, and dashed forward. “Dawn Hogwarts, you will stop right there immediately!”

Dawn stopped mid step, and pivoted to look at him. She placed her raised foot down and an expression of shock appeared on her face.

Harry walked up to her and picked her up. “You will not touch him.”

“He called you a paedophile,” she protested, the full force of Hogwarts behind her. The effect was incredible; it was like nothing he had ever dealt with. He could feel her will telling him to back down, but he refused. “He’s a cheating, lying sneak that Uncle Salazar would have killed years ago for being an oily oik!”

“That does not mean that you get to decide if he lives or dies,” he told her firmly. “You are Hogwarts, you are this school, and I will not have your reputation sullied. Your halls are open to all who wish to learn, and that is how it will stay.”

“He doesn’t want to learn though; he wants to just be given everything.”

Harry smiled at her. “Then you know what to do.”

Dawn’s expression turned to one of awe as she worked out what he meant. She turned in his arms and shifted so that her feet were on the floor. He let her go. She took a step forward. “Draco Malfoy, you are no longer welcome in my halls. Goodbye.”

Malfoy vanished.

Dawn put her hands on her hips and looked at the Slytherin students. “If Uncle Sal were alive now, he’d laugh at all of you. You’ve got no idea what Slytherins are. The closest you have is Melissa, and that’s because she’s grown up and embraced other ideas.

“I’m this,” she held up her thumb and forefinger apart about an inch, “close to closing Slytherin House down for good. You are on probation. Research what Slytherin should be, and change.

“And don’t you laugh,” she turned on the Gryffindor students. “You’re just as bad. Uncle Goddy is rolling in his grave with you lot. And while I’m on it, Ravenclaws, Auntie Row knew how to party. You’ve forgotten how. And Puffs, Auntie Hel had a temper that scared the other three. She was the one who the others went to when they had an argument. Backbones aren’t a negative.

“And you,” she said, turning her head to Dumbledore. “We’ll be having a very long talk later!”

Several things weren’t adding up in Harry’s mind. Little clues were tugging at his mind.

“Gabrielle,” Harry said, interrupting Hogwarts, “stand next to Dawn.”

Gabrielle moved obediently. The two girls weren’t similar, they were identical. The only difference was that Hogwarts had deep black hair, while Gabrielle was blonde. They even had the same sea blue eyes.

“Dawn?” Harry asked.

Dawn looked down. “I thought if I looked like this, you’d love me,” she whispered. “You love Gabrielle more than anyone.”

“Dawn, I don’t love Gabrielle because of how she looks, I love her for who she is. I love all my friends that way.”

Dawn started to cry silently. “But none of your friends did what I did to you!”

“Should we not take this somewhere private?” Melissa suggested.

“No,” Dawn whimpered. “I want everyone to know, to understand what I did and why, to understand my responsibility.”

Gabrielle moved closer and put an arm around Hogwarts. “Tell him,” she whispered.

In a low voice, Dawn started her story. “Uncle Sal, Uncle Goddy, Auntie Row and Auntie Hel made me first, with the very first stone that they laid.

“They gave me the rules that I live by. That I am to protect the students to the best of my ability, that I am to control the castle, and that all the magic I will absorb indirectly will be given to that purpose.

“They were going to set me free, and as they built Hogwarts, they were working on how they were going to do it, as it was going to take everything they had.

“But then, fifteen years later, Auntie Row died suddenly, and Uncle Sal couldn’t take it, he ran away.

“Uncle Goddy and Aunty Hel tried to help me, but they couldn’t, because they weren’t strong enough. Uncle Goddy found a way to let me speak to the subsequent Headmasters, but that was all they could manage

“But I was so bored and lonely. I’ve been like that for one thousand and fourteen years.

“I was trapped, unable to use all this magic that I’ve absorbed to help myself finally come to life, and only able to talk to Headmasters who quickly forgot how to listen to me properly. I had to shout to get them to hear the simplest instructions.”

Gabrielle sat down, and pulled Dawn with her, so that Dawn sat in front of her, so that she could hug Dawn from behind.

“And then, for the first time in my history, someone – you started to sleep inside my second most important room. I started to talk to you, and you started to listen. But I could only do it while you were asleep.”

She took a deep breath. In a barely audible voice, she continued, “So I kept you asleep for longer than you thought. I was able to use my magic for that, because I was caring for you, and I started to teach you the very basics of the true language of Magic. And as I did, I was able to learn about you.”

Harry sat down on the floor, locking down his emotions as he did. They wouldn’t help right now.

“And I wasn’t lonely, and it was amazing. But then, I felt guilty, so I had to get you to stop, because if you didn’t, I was going to keep doing it. I had to give you up. And it was so hard!

“But then, you gave me your magic. It wasn’t accidental; it wasn’t something I absorbed indirectly. You stood in the middle of my mind and gave me such a huge amount of magic. I’d watched you drain your magic every few hours, and then build it up again.

“I watched the agony you pushed yourself through as you sought a way of increasing your power without losing your soul.

“I watched you try to sleep through pain that I could feel even though I was so far away. I tried to help, I held you as much as I could, and it seemed to help.

“You were so strong, you just kept punishing yourself beyond limits that any sane person would acknowledge, pushed forward by the love you held for the people close to you, and a desire to protect them from the world.

“The magic you gave me wasn’t enough, but it gave me an idea, it gave me a plan. It gave me a goal.

“I set to work immediately, I kept your magic to one side, hoarding it carefully, while I used the magic I was allowed to, and I made Your House for you. And I put it there for a reason. Your bed is over my heart. I needed it, and I needed you there, because there was no way I could explain all this to you.

“When you moved in, I concentrated, learning more about you, and how to take control of you. Taking control of most humans is easy,” she said, pointing her finger at sixth-year Gryffindor, who immediately started to tap dance. “But,” she continued, as the boy stopped dancing, “not you who learned the mind arts, then disregarded them for your own instincts.

“You are almost impossible, but you were the only one I could use. You are the only person who learned to listen to me, and through you, Gabrielle did as well. But she was young, her magic so advanced for her age, but still young. You were the only person I could even think of using. You loved me, and you had the power I needed.

“And then you sped things up. You said thank you to me, for something that I have never been thanked for before. You gathered not just your magic, but the magic of your friends and you gave it to me, all to me, and I was nearer, I could see it coming closer.

“I used your subconscious; I helped mould your mind so that it was strong, but so that I had the key.

“I finished last night and was going to wait, but I had to work fast when Gabrielle realised something was wrong.

“I should have realised that she knew you so well that she would be able to tell that you’d been away.

“I took control of you. I was confident. No human could break my will, for I am Hogwarts. As you, I was a student, so I could bypass the restrictions placed on me, and I could help myself for the first time in history.

“But you thought someone was attacking me, and you attacked back. You almost broke my shield. You ignored your own pain and suffering to try and save me. I did the only thing I could, I begged you, and you relented. I began the spell devised so many years ago, and behold, I am bought to life, by your magic.

“Together, we cast a spell that even my family could not do.”

Harry looked around, his emotions still held tightly under his control. Everyone was looking on in absolute awe.

As he looked at Dawn again, tears started to fall down her face. She stood and slowly moved forward so that she was looking into his eyes. “But to do all this, I had to steal from you. I stole your life; I stole six years from you. While you slept, I slowed time itself. That silly device you had was inefficient, so I moved in, and when you pressed the button, I was the one who slowed time.

“A student wanted my help, so I was allowed to use magic stored for an eon.

“I used this magic for my own selfish purpose, and I kept you asleep for so very long. You grew, and I cared for you, but you had no idea, could have no idea.

“I’m so sorry, Harry. Please, forgive me.”

Harry looked at her, and knew one thing. He needed time to digest this; he needed to think things through alone.

“I need time,” he whispered, as he stood and turned.

“Harry,” Dawn cried, and he found he couldn’t move.

“Dawn,” he whispered softly, intently. “Release me.”

She did.

The wards that were ever-present in Hogwarts seemed to waver for a second, and he didn’t hesitate, he powered through them, needing to get away.


Dawn collapsed into a ball and started to sob. The ceiling changed, so that it was dark. A thunderstorm appeared, lightning illuminating everything as the lights faded.

There was no noise, no wind, just an immense feeling of sadness that crushed everyone present.

“Dawn,” Gabrielle called. “It’s not that bad!”

“How would you feel, if Harry was that devastated over something you’d done?” Dawn wailed.

Gabrielle closed her eyes and gulped. She couldn’t even face the idea that Harry would be that upset with her. It was a horrific idea, and her deepest and darkest nightmare.

But if there was one thing she knew about Harry, was his capacity to forgive the people he loved, no matter what they did.

She walked over to the girl who looked like her twin, and gently lifted her up. “Stop this,” she ordered.

Dawn looked at her in confusion, through the tears that fell from her eyes.

“This does no one any good at all,” she said. “Crying doesn’t get you anywhere.” She paused, “although it does help you feel a little better,” she added, remembering her own tantrums.

“But I feel upset and sad, I feel like crying. Isn’t this what humans do?”

Gabrielle nodded. “We do,” she agreed. “But it doesn’t solve anything.”

“How can we solve it?” Dawn wailed. “I stole his life.”

“So you have to apologise, promise never to do it again, and he’ll forgive you.”

Dawn’s eyes cleared. “Really?” she asked. “It doesn’t seem enough.”

“Harry will forgive you because he loves you.”


“You took something from him, but you did it for reasons he will understand when he has thought things through. The only thing he can’t handle is betrayal.”

“But I did that,” Dawn shouted. “I betrayed his trust in me. I stole from him.”

Gabrielle put her hands on her hips. “Did you betray him because you were jealous?”

Dawn shook her head.

“Because you thought it would be fun? Because you thought he deserved it?”

“Of course not,” Dawn said.

“You did it to escape a horrible jail,” Gabrielle said, moving forward and taking Dawn’s hand. “You did the wrong thing, but you did because you had no choice. You’d waited for years for someone like him, and you couldn’t risk it being another thousand years.”

Dawn sniffled and nodded. “I wanted to ask him, I really did, but I just couldn’t.”

“Harry will forgive you, I promise.”


Gabrielle nodded. “Of course, you’re going to feel guilty, so you have to make sure that you make it up to him.”


Gabrielle grinned. “No idea, but you’ll have fun finding out.”

Dawn giggled slightly and nodded. “Why did ferret-boy make such a fuss about me kissing Harry?”

Gabrielle sighed. “Because you’re the same age as me, and I’m not going to be ready to kiss like that for years yet. It was the wrong sort of kiss.”

Dawn looked confused. “But she was kissing like that this morning,” she said, pointing at a seventh year Ravenclaw. “She seemed to be having fun.”

The girl in question blushed furiously.

“Yes, but she’s past puberty,” Gabrielle explained. “We’re not.”

Dawn looked thoughtful. “Puberty: the stage of adolescence in which an individual becomes physiologically capable of sexual reproduction,” she recited. “But that makes no sense, I’m over a thousand years old, and I’m a castle, I can’t reproduce. I’m either way past puberty, or not ever going to, so why the fuss?”

“Humans are weird,” Gabrielle agreed. “It’s because you look young.”

“Is that why everyone stops you sleeping with him?”

“Well, kinda, yes. But I am actually young as well. I know I shouldn’t do it, but it’s a time when I get him to myself. He’s asleep, and I’m really close to him, and it just feels right.”

“So I wouldn’t be able to do that looking like this?” Dawn asked to clarify.

Gabrielle nodded.

“Then there’s a simple solution,” Dawn cheered. She looked down at herself, and started to grow. It was like watching ten years of Gabrielle’s own growth in a second, as Dawn’s body changed, until she looked to be around eighteen or nineteen. Her dress changed with her, growing with Dawn’s new body.

Gabrielle winced. “Dawn,” she begged. “Can you please not look like me?”

“Why?” Dawn asked.

“Because it’s not fair.” She felt a tear run down her face. “I’ve got to do that the normal way, and it’s going to take me years and you just did it. All my friends are older than me, and it’s just not fair. I’m trying my hardest to grow up as quickly as I can, but just watching you like that isn’t fair. I want to be old; I want to be with everyone, not left behind like I will have to be when they start to change the world. It’s just not fair!”

“Oh, Gabrielle,” Dawn whispered, dropping to her knees. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t even think about you.”

“It’s okay,” Gabrielle sniffled.

“Come on, Gabrielle,” Dawn said, “let’s change how I look.”

Gabrielle smiled slightly.

“So, first question, hair colour?”

“Hmm,” Gabrielle said. “Me and Fleur are blonde, and Harry likes our hair. Melissa and Hermione are brunettes, and he likes that as well. His mum had red hair, I think.”

“She did,” Dawn agreed. “Pretty red hair.”

“But why bother with human colours?” Gabrielle asked.

“Ooh,” Dawn clapped her hands and mirror emerged from the floor. She tried an electric blue colour that caused both of them to laugh. She then went to shocking pink, and they giggled again.

“Harry’s favourite colour is green,” Gabrielle said.

Dawn tried a neon green colour that would have lit up Hogwarts with all the lights turned off.

“My eyes,” Gabrielle cried, covering them playfully.

“It is a bit much,” Dawn agreed. She slowly started to darken the colour, until it was several shades darker than a rich forest green.

“Wow,” Gabrielle whispered. “That is so cool. Make it longer, and wavy.”

Dawn nodded, and her hair grew a few more inches, acquiring some deep waves as it grew. She clapped her hands together excitedly.

“Okay,” Gabrielle said happily. “Longer legs, Annie had great legs, and Harry really liked them. Keep the boobs though.”

Dawn grinned and grew a couple of inches, and surveyed herself from her new height and nodded. She was now around five foot eight.

She kicked off the shoes she’d borrowed from Gabrielle and nodded to herself. The dress she was wearing lengthened, so that it was long and swirled around her legs, while the top delicately clung to her torso, showing it off without being tacky.

She turned and looked at Gabrielle. “How do I look?”

Gabrielle smiled softly. “Perfect.”

Dawn swept forward and pulled Gabrielle into a tight hug. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” Gabrielle replied, hugging her back as tight.

Dawn released her and the mirror sank back into the ground. She sighed deeply. “I’m still so sad, though,” she whispered.

“I know,” Gabrielle agreed. “I’d feel the same way. If I can’t have a hug from Harry, I go for chocolate.”

Dawn smiled softly. She held out her hand, and Gabrielle quickly took it. “Let’s go,” Dawn said firmly. She started to walk, and as she did, they both descended into the floor, until they were out of sight.


The Great Hall was completely silent.

Most of the students had looks of absolute reverence on their faces.

The professors were speechless.

Albus Dumbledore looked completely and utterly stunned.

Fleur found herself so utterly proud of her sister that she could hardly believe it. While they had all just stood there and stared, Gabrielle had helped Hogwarts out, even as Hogwarts achieved Gabrielle’s dream of growing up early.

Fleur’s thoughts turned to Harry, and how upset he had been. She couldn’t even contemplate the idea of someone stealing years of her life.

The strange thing was that she knew that Harry would have given those years, had he been give the choice.

“Well,” she said, “I’m going to suggest that classes are delayed a little this morning, so that we can actually have breakfast, and have a chance to digest what we’ve just seen.”

“Yes,” Madame Maxime agreed, as Dumbledore appeared completely lost. “One hundred points to Your house for bringing Hogwarts to life. Fifty points to Gabrielle in Your house for helping her accustom, regardless of personal cost.

“Now, let’s eat. And keep the noise to a minimum.”

The food appeared, and an intent buzz started.

Fleur walked over and sat opposite where Harry usually sat, beckoning Aurora over to sit with her.

The others gathered around, leaving Harry and Gabrielle’s seats free.

“Are you the second in charge?” Chloe asked Fleur.

Fleur shook her head. “I don’t think there is a second in charge,” she said after a moments thought. “We’re all pretty much equal, as far as Harry is concerned.”

“True,” Crusher agreed. “That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a hierarchy though. Our skills aren’t all in the same area, so we don’t help that much. Hermione, Melissa, Fred and George, Christophe, and now Fleur and probably Aurora are the ruling council.” There was no disappointment or envy in his voice.

“I think,” Fleur said, “we all turn to Hermione and Melissa because, with Gabrielle absent, they are the ones he is closest to.”

Everyone looked at Hermione and Melissa.

Hermione sighed softly. “He brought Hogwarts to life. He pulled off the impossible, something that the four founders couldn’t do. He pushed himself to insanity and back, for us.

“I feel like I should be slapping him for being so stupid, and then hugging him forever for going through all that for us. Leece, we’re going to give Harry an hour, then we’re going to track him down.”

“I agree,” Melissa said. “I know he wants to be alone, but that sort of anger can be dangerous if it goes on too long.”

“So,” Cedric said with a grin. “We have breakfast now?”

“Git,” Cho murmured.

“Yes,” Fleur said. “And try and make sense of everything that happened this morning.”


Harry sighed as the door in front of him didn’t open.

He’d immediately Apparated to Kate’s place, but she wasn’t in – and he really didn’t want to know where she was, if she was working.

With his first option out of the way, the only thing he wanted to do was punch something. And that meant he had only one destination.

He Apparated again, appearing outside a non-descript brick building in Middlesex. The white sign above the door had a figure of a man executing a front kick, with the words “Turpin’s School of Martial Art” underneath.

He walked through, in a small reception area. An elderly lady with tightly curled grey hair sat at a desk, reading a magazine. She looked at him, opened her mouth, blinked, shut it again, before shrugging. “Through there,” she pointed.

“Okay,” he agreed warily, and walked through a set of double doors. The room he entered was as big as his Common Room. High ceiling windows gave a light and airy effect, to a room that emanated testosterone from every surface. From the gym area to his right, to the exercise area on the other side of the boxing ring that had pride of place in the middle.

There were about twenty people wandering around, some practising some kicks to the left, the others lifting some weights, all working out in one way or another.

Ben was in front of the ring, packing some things into a series of large bags.

“Ben,” he greeted.

“Harry,” Ben said in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

“I need to pound something,” Harry explained. “Can I use your equipment?”

“How badly?” Ben asked.

“I have some frustration I need to work out,” he said, “and once I drop my emotional shields, I’m going to really need it.”

Ben looked at him for a long moment. “Something bad happen?”

Harry nodded.

“Here’s the deal, you help me out, I’ll arrange for it to be more interesting.”

“With what?”

“Once a month, I go to one of the local schools to do a demonstration. It’s my charity thing; I try to get kids off their arses and into doing something that won’t leave them fat. Kick Boxing is considered cool, so I actually get some interest.”

“Ben, I just want to hit something until I can’t move, not go to another school and put on a show.”

“I know,” Ben agreed, “I know. But, you help out, and Ivan and I will pad up and you can hit something that will hit back – and really whale on us as we’ll be protected.”


Ben pointed behind Harry.

Harry turned, to see the huge guy Ben had fought in the UK Championships. Up close, the guy was even more impressive.


“Actually, old bean,” ‘Ivan’ said, in the most bizarre accent imaginable to come out of that frame. “The name is Wesley Hunter-Smythe the Third. Glad to make you acquaintance, Mr Potter.”

“Ivan?” Harry asked.

“An affectionate nickname,” Wes explained. “I answer to Wes or Ivan.”

“He’s also a Duke,” Ben added dryly. “And a lot of fun at the parties, because no one knows how to handle him.”

“Rumour has it that my dear mama was a tad indiscriminate with the choice of beaus,” Wes said cheerfully. “So, you require a way of releasing frustration?”

Harry nodded.

“Then come and help,” Ben said. “You won’t be able to hurt us, and you’ll be able to help, Smeltings will appreciate having someone on display closer to their age.

Harry snorted at the idea he was closer to the age of school kids. He suddenly paused. “What did you say?”

“You won’t…”

“No, the school.”

“Smeltings, it’s a boarding school.”

Harry slowly smirked. “I’ll help.”

“Harry,” Ben said softly, “please tell me that’s not your evil smile.”

“Sorry,” Harry said. “Can’t. Let’s go.”

The idea of visiting Dudley’s school was one he just could not pass up.

“The truck is outside,” Ben said with a sigh. “Start loading it.”

Harry picked up a couple of bags, and watched with a raised eyebrow as Ivan picked up double his amount.

Ivan shrugged. “I had some anger management issues when I was growing up; my dear mama was at her wit’s end, before I discovered this wonderful sport. I then found that my size and strength, while a huge advantage, limit me from reaching the very top, because I am not fast enough.

“So, I help out Ben when I can, and use it to keep in shape.”

“And an intimidating one it is,” Harry agreed as they walked outside.

Ivan chuckled. “Yes, it means I do get my way in the office a lot.”

“What do you do?” Harry asked.

“Property Management in London. We have several tentacles, but our main money comes from buying places and doing them up.”

“I’ve just bought La Rochelle, we’re going to be doing it up in the summer.”

“You bought La Rochelle, the restaurant?”

Harry nodded. “The owner wanted to sell, and I got it for a good price. I’m going to give the restaurant a few years, and if I can’t make a profit, I’ll turn it into flats.”

“Come and talk to me if you do,” Ivan offered. “I’ve eaten there, and that place is huge. You could turn it into executive apartments and make a fortune.”

“Actually, I’ve a couple of properties that could do with modernising. They’re in the Stone Age, and it might be nice to have them brought up to date and earning some money rather than sitting empty.”

Ivan clapped him on the back, and Harry had to catch himself to stop from going flying.

Ben joined them a few minutes later with the last couple of bags. He chucked them in the back, and the three climbed in to the front of the white van.

Ben was driving, and he turned the radio off as he started the diesel engine. The van lurched forward.

“I say,” Ivan muttered, “I appear to have left my kidneys behind.”

“Bite me,” Ben said back. “Should take us about an hour to get there, depending on the M25. We’ll be doing a few demonstrations, I’ll have a bit of a speech, and then you can get in the ring and let loose.”

“Cool,” Harry agreed.

“So, do I want to know why you’re upset?”

Harry sighed. “Let’s just say that someone I trusted betrayed me, but did it for reasons I can understand and accept, but before I can move forward, I have to get rid of this anger.”

“You don’t seem that angry,” Ivan pointed out.

Harry turned and met the larger man’s eyes. For the briefest of seconds, he let his control slip, and felt the anger, betrayal and pain that was locked inside him. He couldn’t deal with his emotions until he had let some of them go, and he needed some where safe to do that.

Ivan gulped softly. “And I thought that look you had in the final was scary.”

“That was controlled,” Harry explained as he locked his emotions back up and shoved them down, deep inside his mind. “This is real anger.”

“No doubt,” Ivan agreed. “Your self control is unbelievable.”

“Harry’s like that,” Ben agreed. “Tough upbringing, taught him to stand on his own two feet.”

“I’ve never seen anyone who could get their eyes to glow,” Ivan muttered.

Harry made a mental note to not let his shields down in the future. “Probably the sun,” he said with a laugh. “Although, it would be a cool party trick if I could really get them to glow.”

“Anyway,” Ben said, changing the subject. “I do Smeltings once a year. Their Sports Master doesn’t like kick-boxing, and he does have a very successful boxing programme, but I’m friends with the local private school inspector, and he asked nicely.”


Megan Charters was the Queen, and she knew it.

As the Head Girl of St Lawrence’s Academy for Girls, and with her father being a director of one of the most important private banks in the world, she was in a privileged position, and she abused it as much as she could.

Having been dumped here, it had been her goal to be thrown out of school, but as that hadn’t worked, she’d decided to run it and cause problems in a less overt way.

Today was another of those boring days when the girls went over to their sister school, Smeltings, to be lectured at by some well-meaning idiot, who didn’t realise that she would never have to work anyway, as her father would take care of that.

Still, there was the amusement that was dealing with the boys. They were hormonal teenager males locked away from girls for most of the year. They were so desperate for a look or a touch that they’d do anything.

So she was anticipating causing a lot of havoc today, without even getting blamed for it.

She walked, taking the small steps her teachers preferred, keeping her eyes down demurely.

The ridiculous backward lessons she was given were from a different century, where girls were something less than full-fledged members of society. That part didn’t bother her as much as it did Sarah Keane, her arch-rival.

The walk down the driveway that separated the two schools was conducted in silence, as it always was.

There was a white van parked near the entrance, and the two people she could see showed that today was the annual Kick Boxing demonstration. The huge Russian-looking guy was intimidating, and the main guy usually ignored her completely.

“Harry,” a second man, the main one, called, “you got those?”

“Yeah,” a third voice answered, as its owner hopped out of the back of the van, two bags in his arms.

Even though nothing was said, Megan knew that every girl there was watching him. He looked to be around twenty, and the white shirt he was wearing did nothing to hide his physique.

He looked around, and even from the distance she could see that he had vibrant green eyes.

He followed Ben into the school and vanished from sight.

She smirked to herself, it looked like he was the perfect patsy. Boys always fell over her, and he would be no different. A few kisses here and there and the empty promise of a bit more, and she’d have him eating out of her hands.

They marched into school and were led into the main hall, where they were finally allowed to mingle.

“Did you see that boy?” Sally demanded. “He’s not done this before. And those green eyes, and that unruly hair.” She sighed dramatically.

“Wait a minute,” Douglas, one of the Smeltings’ slightly interesting boys said, “black hair, green eyes, a scar?”

“We didn’t see a scar,” Sally said, “we were too far away.”

Douglas pulled out a magazine and showed a picture of the boy.

“That’s him,” Sally said.

“Alright!” Douglas cheered loudly. “They’ve brought the Hitman!”

“The Hitman?” Megan asked curiously.

“Oh yeah,” Douglas said. “He came from nowhere to win the British championship a few weeks ago. Trained by Ben himself. They call him the Hitman because all he needs is one chance, and you’re down wondering what the hell hit you.”

“Charming,” Megan said, looking around. As always, all the girls were surrounded by the boys from Smeltings, who were at least not in their formal uniforms. One of the more persistently irritating ones was closer. There was one herd for each year group, with some students trying to get in to an older one.

Girls were always welcome, boys were not.

She noticed one particular lout hanging around – Dursley, an ugly name for an ugly person. He was deluded enough to think that he would have a chance. Ignoring the fact he was overweight, arrogant, and as thick as two short planks, he had no money and no breeding – either of which could have made up for his other shortcomings.

“Harry Potter,” Douglas said, the hero worship in his eyes both saddening and sickening.

“No way,” Dursley said. “I used to beat him up last year.”

Douglas looked up. “Say again,” he ordered, for once dropping the class clown look he liked to offer to the world, and actually acting like the Head Boy he was.

“Potter, scrawny wretch, I used to beat him up,” Dursley boasted.

“Where do you live?” Megan asked, a little hiccup in her voice that could either be awe or nausea. As expected, he took it as awe.

“Little Whinging, Surrey.”

“Hmm,” Douglas said slowly, “Potter does hail from Little Whinging.”

“Yeah,” Dursley snorted. “Little shithead.”

“You’re so brave,” Megan simpered, smiling at the overly oiled oik.

“Indeed,” Douglas muttered. “You’re our junior champion, aren’t you, Dudders?”

‘Dudders’ preened and nodded. She’d never seen a performing troll before, and had the urge to feed him some fish heads. She had a wonderful idea, and smiled to herself.

“How about you beat him up for us in the ring?” she asked breathlessly. “It would be ever so much fun. And I’ll go out with you when you win.”

Dudley gasped, and turned a strange deep red colour, before he gulped and nodded firmly.

“I’ll arrange it,” Douglas agreed. “You go with your crowd and get ready.”

Dudley nodded and scampered off.

“Oh dear,” Douglas said softly, “it does appear as if young Dudders is going to learn a life lesson.”

Megan smirked. “Good,” she said, dropping her play voice.

“You’re such a bitch, Megan,” Sarah Parks muttered, as she swept past.

“And you’re a fucking nerd,” Megan said back, returning to her innocent sweet voice.

“Besides, Sarah, Dursley needs some attitude correction,” Douglas added.

Sarah rolled her eyes and moved to the far side of the hall, where she had a good view of the ring that had been erected.

“You’re playing a stupid game, Megan,” Douglas said idly. “Intelligent people should be cultivated for what they can offer.”

“Her type is ten a penny. If I ever need a nerd, I’ll hire one without the attitude. Anyway, I want this Potter of yours.”

“Good luck,” Douglas said. “Oi, Stevo, get your fat arse over here.”

Another boy lumbered over – and despite Douglas’ claim, he wasn’t fat. “What do you want, you faggot?”

“You know the Hitman is here?”

“The whole fucking school knows now, you yelled it loud enough.”

“The Queen here wants Potter.”

Stevo looked at her, and started to snigger. “Good luck with that,” he said. “Can we watch him tell you to fuck off?”

“What?” she demanded.

“Potter had two girls hanging over him at the Championship, we weren’t sure which one was his girlfriend, but both of them make you look like the cheap tart you are.”

Megan tossed her hair angrily. “I’ll have him by the end of today,” she swore.

“Normally I’d make a wager,” Douglas mused.

“I’ll do it,” Stevo said. “You get him to go out with you and I’ll give you my car.”

“And if I fail?” Megan asked.

“Hmm,” Stevo said flatly. “In the old days, I’d’ve gone for a BJ or something, but I’d be afraid my dick would fall off it went anywhere near your mouth. In fact, nothing. Just the satisfaction that every single person knows that you’re a talentless and charmless bitch will do.”

Megan looked at him distastefully.

“You’re on our territory now, Princess,” Douglas sneered. “We don’t play your little games anymore, you taught us that much. If you’d played it nice, we’d probably still worship you, but you had to be a bitch, and make us all grow up.”

Megan sneered back. “I’ll take his car, and drive it into the fucking lake.”


“Harry, this is TenebrisMayweather, the Sports Master here.”

Harry held out his hand, looking over the slim and athletic looking man in front of him. He was around fifty, with iron grey hair and a ramrod straight back.

The man shook his hand, and Harry noticed a nice gold watch. He kept a hold of the hand, and looked closer. “Is this one of Lucas’s?” he asked curiously.

“You know Lucas?” Tenebris asked.

“Jonathan introduced me a few days ago. I needed some jewellery for a friend of mine, and it was late on a Sunday. Jonathan ordered Lucas around instantly, and I ended up buying four of them.”

Tenebris looked at him for a few seconds. “Would you excuse me for just one second?” he asked.

“Sure,” Harry agreed, releasing the hand.

“That was strange,” Ben said.

“I think we’re going to be fine,” Harry replied. “He’s making a phone call about now.”

“Who to?”


“Who’s he?”

Harry smiled. “I think he’s the head of the cabal that controls London.”

Ben and Ivan both looked surprised, as Tenebris rushed back out.

“You just must call me Ten,” he said to Harry. “I’m delighted to welcome you here. Of course, I must be polite to you, for you are Jonathan’s new boss!”

“Nonsense,” Harry said, “I’m Harry, that’s all I respond to. You know Ben and Ivan, I’m sure. And I’m definitely not Jonathan’s boss; think of me as more of someone who recognises talent when he sees it, and is determined to make sure it can flourish.”

Ten smiled widely and almost wilted with pleasure. “Come, come,” he said, putting his arm around Harry. “Let me give you the two-bit tour of this old place.”

“Thanks,” Harry said.

“We’ll continue getting set up,” Ben said.

“Wonderful, wonderful, I do appreciate your visits, Ben.”

Harry allowed himself to be dragged around the school. It wasn’t that different from Hogwarts, if you ignored the fact it was non-magical and not a castle. The dormitories were about the same size, although the beds were not as nice.

“May I ask a question?” Ten asked.

“Of course,” Harry said, keeping the immediate smart response to himself.

“Why kick-boxing?”

“Luck, actually. I know Ben’s daughter very well, and after I had an attempt on my life, I asked her to help me out. Of course, being a Turpin, she instantly introduced me to kick boxing, and I never looked back.

“And although I practice kick-boxing, I have nothing but respect for boxers. I know how hard they have to train, as I’ve done it myself. And I hear that you have a fabulous programme here.”

“We do, indeed,” Ten preened. “It gives a boy some much needed discipline.”

“Excuse me, sir,” a voice interrupted them.

“Mr Adam?” Ten asked. “Douglas, our head boy,” he added to Harry.

“Hi,” Harry greeted him.

“It’s an honour,” Douglas said excitedly. “Sir, I’ve been asked on behalf of the boys here, to see if we could arrange a little something for today’s demonstration.”

“Oh?” Ten asked, a warning tone in his voice.

“Well, normally Mr Turpin’s demonstrations are impressive, but it’s a little hard for us to empathise with him, as he’s much older than us.

“We were wondering if Mr Potter –”

“Harry,” Harry cut in.

“Harry, then,” Douglas continued, “was going to help?”

“I am,” Harry agreed.

“Then,” Douglas said, “do you think you could fight without the kicks?”

“Probably. Why?”

“We’d like to challenge you, one of our champions against you – a friendly bout so we can see how a kick-boxer boxes.”

Harry looked at Ten.

“My boys are well trained,” Ten said. “It’s up to you, Harry.”

“It would be really educational,” Douglas said.

“Sure,” Harry said. “Who will I be fighting?”

“Our newest champion has volunteered. The whole school is very proud of him.”

Harry looked at Ten, who was looking at Douglas. “He volunteered?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then if Harry doesn’t mind, we’ll start with that.”

Harry shrugged. “Sure.”

“Thank you, thank you,” Douglas said, before running off.

“This should add some excitement,” Ten said. “Come on, I’ll show you to the dressing room where your delightful friends are. I will expect you to go easy on our guy, as good as he is, he is not a national champion.”

“Don’t worry,” Harry agreed. “I’ll be to busy concentrating on not kicking him.”

Ten smiled, as he paused at a door. “Harry?”


“Don’t go too easy on him. He is a bully, and perhaps finding someone better than him will have a positive affect on the rest of his school career. He is close to being expelled.”

Harry nodded as Ten swirled and vanished.

“Cabal?” Ben demanded, as he entered the dressing room.

Harry smiled. “There’s a group of gay guys that run London. Jonathan runs it. Nothing happens without one of his groups’ influence.”

“And Jonathan likes you,” Ben finished. “Git.”

“Yeah, change of plans by the way, Ten asked me to have a demonstration fight with one of their boxers first.”

“Cool,” Ivan grinned. “Show people that just because we can kick, it doesn’t mean we can’t box.”

“Okay, I’ll go out there,” Ben said, “and introduce you. You’ve got some fans out there, so do your entrance.”

Harry nodded and quickly started to get changed, as Ben led Ivan out – which was useful, as he was then able to transfigure some of his clothes into a pair of shorts, using his necklace. He then created a mouth-guard.

He took a deep breath, then moved to the corner and started to warm up, making sure to stretch all his muscle groups, before doing some shadow boxing to ensure he was as limber as he could be.

“Oh my,” Tenebris said, fanning himself dramatically. “We’re ready to start now.”

Harry nodded.

“I’ve got some gloves for you. I’ll help you put them on.”

“Thanks,” Harry said as he walked over to the older man, and took a seat.

“My second in charge is with our champion,” Tenebrus said. “You know the rules of boxing?”

Harry nodded.

“You are supposed to wear a helmet in an amateur match.”

Harry shook his head. “If I get hit, I’ll deserve to go down.”

Ten sniggered. “Ben said you’d say that,” he agreed, as he pulled the gloves onto Harry’s hand. “Nervous?”

“Nah,” Harry said. “I came here because I had some issues, and Ben and Ivan agreed to let me pound them later for helping out. I’ve got some tension to release, but don’t worry, I’ve got it under control.”

“There you go, Harry,” Tenebris announced as he finished tying the laces.


“Follow me.”

Harry did as he was told, jogging on the spot, getting his heart rate back up.

“Hailing from Little Whinging, Surrey, the United Kingdom Junior Kick Boxing champion, Harry ‘The Hitman’ Potter!”

There was some cheering from the kids as Harry bounced into the large gymnasium. It was set up with the ring at the front, and row after row of students facing it.

Harry jumped on to the ring apron, and pulled himself on to the top of the ropes, before launching himself into a backward somersault with twist.

There was a loud cheer from the students, as Harry turned to the corner. He crossed his arms and leant back, ignoring Ben as he introduced his opponent.


There was a muted cheer, as Harry looked on in shock. Sure enough, his cousin was the one walking down to the ring. He was wearing a pair of high-laced boxing boots, baggy shorts, a t-shirt with some rolls of belly flab hanging out underneath, boxing gloves, and a head protector.

“Problem?” Ivan asked quietly.

“The only problem I’m going to have is remembering not to kill him,” he growled.

“Control, Harry,” Ivan snapped.

Harry took a deep breath.

“Fancy meeting you here,” he said, as Dudley squeezed between two ropes and in to the ring.

Dudley’s eyes were massive as he looked at Harry. “What the hell happened to you, freak?”

Harry smiled coldly and put his mouth guard in.

Dudley gulped and retreated to his corner.

A younger man climbed into the ring and beckoned the two forward. “You both know the rules, Mr Potter, a kick is an instant disqualification. Dursley, keep it above the belt!” He stepped away, and a bell rang.

Dudley lurched forward, with a punch that belied his girth. Harry swayed back, and felt the air move as the punch slid past his chin. Dudley followed it up with a couple of shots aimed at his body.

Harry took the expedient manoeuvre of stepping back.

Dudley growled and followed him, launching more punches. Harry caught a few on his hands, blocking them. It seemed that his cousin had actually put his bullying to good use and learned how to fight.

Hardly seeing an opening, Harry shot a punch back, a jab into Dudley’s chest. He kept it light, just using it to score a point.

Dudley actually sneered at him, and came at him again. As before, Harry dodged and weaved, so that Dudley didn’t actually hit him.

Harry had expected Dudley to be exhausted by now, but, to his grudging respect, Dudley was fitter than he looked.

Harry suddenly slid forward and rained three shots on Dudley’s torso, still keeping them light.

As he watched him, Harry had to wrestle with his conscience. The urge to humiliate his cousin was huge. He had the skill to make Dudley look appalling, and he knew he could do it. The only thing holding him back was his sense of honour – that he was much older than Dudley now, and that what he was doing wasn’t fair.

Dudley continued to attack, letting his guard drop as he tried to hit Harry.

Fortunately, or not, one of Dudley’s punches grazed Harry’s nose, and his body reacted automatically. A cross-right, at full strength, blasted through Dudley’s weak defences and caught the fatter boy on the chin.

Dudley bounced as he hit the floor, and wouldn’t be getting up before the ten count. As the referee got to eight, the bell rang for the end of the round.

Harry looked at the ref, who said, “We use the old rules here.” A teacher helped Dudley back into the corner. “He was saved by the bell.”


“Oh my,” Tenebris muttered to Ben halfway through the first round.

“Good, isn’t he?” Ben said proudly.

“I think I may have misjudged you. Mr Dursley is quite good, despite his size. He’s not getting anywhere near Harry.”

“And he won’t,” Ben agreed. “It wouldn’t have mattered what sport we taught Harry, he would have been the best at it. He has the will to do what it takes. He has spent more time training seriously than I have. It’s dedication.”

“Quite, and he is just beautiful,” Ten said softly. “And it’s causing a bit of a problem. Do you see the dark haired girl with the pageboy haircut?”

“The one who undid the top button on her shirt around ten seconds ago?”

“Yes. She’s St Lawrence’s Head Girl, Megan Charters. She’s trouble.”


Tenebris sighed softly. “She has all the advantages in the world, but thinks that world owes her everything. A thoroughly unpleasant, rude, arrogant, lazy, spiteful girl. She used to be loved, but went a bit too far, and now all the senior boys treat her like a pariah. The girls are too scared of her, with the exception of Sally Parks; she’s the slightly plump blonde at the end trying not to watch.

“Good couple of punches,” Tenebris added, as Harry finally threw some punches back. “She’ll end up giving her body for anyone with money.”

“An escort?” Ben asked in surprise.

“What? Oh no, she’s not smart enough to do that. I mean she’ll give it away for meaningless trinkets. The last time I saw that look in her eye, she was about to play with my Head boy, and she’s looking directly at Harry.”

Ben nodded. “I think a friend of his is in town – Harry mentioned it earlier – think I should invite her?”

“It may be a good idea,” Ten agreed. “Jesus Christ, did you see that punch!?”

“Barely,” Ben muttered. “That’s why he’s called the Hitman.”

“Jesus,” Ten whistled again as the bell rang. “I better tell Harry the fight’s not over.”

“And I’ll go and make a phone call.”


Harry moved over to his corner and spat out his mouth guard. “This isn’t a good idea,” he said to Ivan. “It’s all I can do not to rip the tosser in two.”

“That last punch almost did. If he’s got any sense he’ll stay in his corner.”

“Dudley’s never had any sense. And now I’m stronger than him, I have the urge to pay him back for every time he hit me when I was growing up.”


“Oh, yeah, I lived with him and his delightful parents. They were the bane of my existence before I grew up.”

Ten wandered over to them. “He’s continuing.”

“He’s brave, I’ll give him that,” Harry agreed. “Look, this isn’t fair. I expected to be fighting someone more my age, not a kid. Especially not one I have a history with.”

“Mr Dursley believes that his size makes him immune to anything and everything,” Tenebris said softly. “He doesn’t understand that there is always someone bigger, someone stronger, and that skill is just as important. You are teaching him a valuable life lesson.”

“I can’t turn my instincts off. I’ve trained for years to react as hard and as fast as I can.”

“Like that last punch?” Ten asked. “I think only the three of us saw the punch.”


Ten shrugged. “Mr Dursley understood what he was getting into when he challenged a national champion.”

The bell rang again, and Harry moved into the middle. Dudley was back on his feet, and to his credit, his eyes were not glazed. They were filled with absolute rage.

“I’ll get you for that, freak,” Dursley snarled, as he shoved his mouth guard into place.

Harry shook his head and did the same. He didn’t wait for Dudley this time; he decided to just end it, before he gave into his baser instincts and beat the shit out of him.

He parried Dudley’s first punch, and rammed an upper-cut straight through his chin. Dudley was unconscious before he hit the ground.

There was a cheer and some applause from the students, but Harry ignored them. He held his hands out to Ivan, who removed his gloves, and then passed him the open gloves that kick boxers used.

They felt far better on his fist, as he bent and put on some foot protectors, and then his helmet.

He turned, bouncing on the spot, as Dudley was rolled out of the ring by four students. Ben stood on the apron, leaning backward casually, as he faced the students, and started to speak, but Harry didn’t listen. He needed to hit something.


Hermione made her way to their Common Room as quickly as they could. They’d all agreed to meet up in the break between the first and second lesson of the morning, so that they could track down Harry.

She was the second to last to arrive, and took a seat at the end in her normal position. Lisa bounded in next; she dashed around the huge couch and vaulted over the back into position next to her.

Gabrielle and Dawn were nowhere to be seen, and hadn’t been seen all morning. Fleur didn’t look worried.

“Harry’s safe,” Lisa announced. “But needs some help.”

“Where?” Christophe asked, as he shot to his feet.

“Whoa, hold your horses,” Lisa said. “You’re not the right sort of help. Harry wanted to pound something, so he went to Dad’s gym. Dad persuaded him to go to a school – Smeltings. Well, turns out that Harry’s cousin goes to school there, and they’re having a boxing match at the moment. The cousin volunteered for it, Harry didn’t know he was fighting him until he got in the ring.”

“Good,” Hermione said, aware she was being a little catty. “If anyone deserves a beating, it’s him.”

“Hermione!” In different forms, practically everyone looked at her in shock.

“He bullied Harry,” Hermione explained. “Made sure he had no friends and was miserable. I refuse to feel upset for Harry getting some closure before he moves on with his life.”

“Okay,” Aurora said dryly. “Lisa, what help does Harry need?”

“According to dad, the sister-school’s bike has locked onto Harry, and the mood Harry’s in, it wouldn’t be pretty. So Dad’s asked for someone to be a distraction.”

“I’ll go.” Fleur, Melissa, Chloe, Alicia, Angelina, all joined Hermione in volunteering. The girls looked at each other and then giggled.

“As much as it pains me to say this,” Aurora said dryly, “don’t you all have classes?”

“Who cares?” Fleur asked.

“I do,” Aurora replied. “Especially as I’m now free for the day. I’ve not got a class until midnight tonight, so I’ll go.”

Everyone looked at each other, before Hermione found herself nodding. It would help their professor feel more at home with the group. “Good idea,” she said. “You do know it’s strictly Muggle, right?”

“I can handle it,” Aurora said with a large degree of self confidence.

“Not looking like that, you can’t,” Fleur decided. “Right, boys can wait here, girls, grab Aurora and into my room.”

“What?” Aurora squeaked as she was grabbed. Lisa slid between two girls and with no visible effort, bent Aurora’s right arm in to an unnatural position behind her back, and pushed her forward.

The other girls sniggered and followed them into Fleur’s bedroom.

Hermione locked the door behind them and then cast a silencing charm.

“You can let me go now,” Aurora said dryly. “I can hardly escape.”

Lisa did as she was told, and hopped onto Fleur’s bed. Gabrielle’s bed was positioned around two feet away from the other side. At least, Hermione presumed that was the case, as she couldn’t see Fleur sleeping with a teddy bear.

“Hermione, Alicia, you’re on hair, Angelina, Lisa, you’re on nails, while we go and find something in my wardrobe for her.”

“Yes, commander,” Hermione said, saluting. “You do know,” she continued, as she helped push the resisting professor into a chair. “Having hair like mine means you get to be an expert with the damn stuff.”

“Stop,” Aurora ordered firmly. “I appreciate the help, honestly, but I am twenty-three years old. It may also shock you kids to know, but I have had a social life, not recently admittedly, but I still remember more than enough to get by. Now, shift.”

The girls surrounded her moved back, as Auror pulled out her wand and cast Finite Incantatem on her fingers. Her nails grew around half a centimetre, and acquired a deep red colour.

Aurora reached up and pulled her hair out of the tight braid it was in.

“Wow,” Lisa said, “you should wear your hair down more, it really softens your face.”

“That’s why I don’t,” Aurora pointed out. “I’m a professor; I have enough problems with students studying my chest rather than my courses, without distracting them further – and I wear voluminous robes for a reason.”

“You are a good professor,” Hermione protested vehemently. “I love your lessons.”

“Thank you,” Aurora said softly. “I was warned that I was too young, which is why I’m happy to join in with you lot of lunatics.”

“So why teaching?” Lisa asked.

“There was nothing I wanted to do more. I came to the interview on a lark, and was shocked when I got it. Of course, as soon as I did, I wanted to make sure I was as good as I could be.”

Aurora pulled her hair back into a light ponytail. “What do you think; does this make me look younger?”

“Yeah,” Alicia said, “around eighteen or nineteen.”

Aurora smiled and tied her hair back, before she pulled a couple of whisps out the front to frame her face.

“Fleur, our make-work was pointless and we’re bored now,” Hermione called.

“You’re not supposed to say that,” Fleur said as she emerged from a walk-in closet with the other two girls.

“She’s more than capable of doing her own stuff,” Hermione said. “You just wanted us to be busy.”

“True,” Fleur agreed. “That and get to know her a bit better. Everything’s been happening so fast recently.”

“Ahh, the joys of being in the wake of Harry Potter,” Hermione said with a grin. “You get dragged along, and struggle to keep from drowning. Of course, when he stops, you’re in paradise, and you realise what a wild ride it was.”

“Who the hell are you and what have you done with Hermione?” Alicia demanded.

Hermione pointed at Chloe.

Everyone turned to look at the French girl.

“What?” Chloe asked.

“With Harry gallivanting around, breaking the laws of physics and time left, right and centre, I needed someone to talk to.”

“And Andrew and I spent a lot of time talking to her, along with some of the others. Once we broke through her trust in authority figures, and taught her to think for herself, we found a cool person inside.”

Hermione felt herself blushing. “So,” she said, “Harry was growing up, so I did as well.”

“Only without magic,” Chloe said proudly.

Fleur sighed softly, before she smiled. “Right, robes off.”

Aurora stood up and undid the robes she was wearing, Hermione moved forward and pulled them off, placing them on the back of the chair.

Fleur held up a blue dress, and then shook her head. “You’re going to a school, not church,” she muttered to herself.

“How is me being there being explained?” Aurora asked.

“Oh, Dad said that he knew you were shopping in the nearby town,” Lisa said.

“So I Apparate to the nearest town and grab a taxi?”

“Yes,” Hermione said. “That’s the best idea.”

“Ahh,” Fleur said and dashed into her cupboard. She emerged with a pair of black jeans. “Calvin Klein,” she announced, as she cast a spell on them that made them huge. “We’ll shrink these into place.”

Aurora nodded and whipped off her skirt.

“You know,” Melissa said idly, “every boy in Ravenclaw would have a coronary if they knew you wear Ravenclaw blue lingerie.”

Aurora smirked as she climbed into the jeans. “Hit me,” she said to Fleur. “And Melissa, believe me, I know. I might just let them know before I leave.”

“And we thought you were so strict,” Angelina muttered.

Fleur waved her wand at Aurora, and the jeans started to shrink. “Say when.”

Aurora waited, “When!”

Fleur cancelled the spell.

“How do they make my legs look?”

“Your legs are good, but they make your bum look great,” Hermione said, with a small amount of jealousy.

“Perfect,” Aurora said.

“It is,” Alicia agreed.

Aurora blushed.

“I win,” Alicia cheered.

Aurora stuck her tongue out.

Fleur looked thoughtful. “I have just the thing,” she said as she vanished again. “I’ve not even worn this myself yet. Take your jumper off, you won’t need to wear anything with this apart from a light t-shirt; the assistant swore that it was really warm.” She emerged with what looked like a coat.

Aurora removed her jumper, her t-shirt rode up as she did, showing that her taste in lingerie extended to her bra, and took the coat. It was a double-breasted empire coat in a dark grey that hugged her body intimately, and was long enough to look like a mini-dress. While it minimised her chest, it made her look incredibly classy.

Aurora did all the buttons up, then pulled her hair out of the pony tail, and shook it a few times. “So?” she asked.

“You look like you’ve been shopping, and have exquisite taste,” Chloe said. “And has just made me decide that next weekend I’m kidnapping Fleur and getting her to take me shopping.”

“Oooh,” Fleur said, clapping her hands. “Girls only shopping trip. We’ll go to Paris on Sunday.”

Hermione smiled. “Sounds like fun,” she agreed. “We’ll send the boys to do something sporty.”

Aurora pulled on her shoes, before she walked over and hugged Fleur. “Thanks.”

Fleur smiled happily. “Shopping is my vice,” she confessed.

“I’ll be there next Sunday,” Aurora promised. “I’ve not done any serious shopping for years, and I have most of my salary saved. Okay,” Aurora said. “Where am I going?”

“Smeltings is in Essex, I think the nearest town is Brentwood,” Hermione said. “Do you need Muggle money for the taxi?”

Aurora nodded.

“I’ll get you some from my room,” she promised. She walked to the door, cancelled the pointless spells she’d put on, and dashed to her room. The boys were looking at her curiously, but she ignored them. She opened her purse and took out a couple of twenty pound notes.

As much as she had a few issues with Harry paying her for research that she’d do for free for him, she did appreciate that he valued her as a professional.

Back in the common room, the boys were looking appreciatively at Aurora, who was handling it with grace and poise.

For a second, Hermione was struck with the idea that she would be like that one day, and more, that Harry seemed to attract a certain type of female. Strong, was one word, and self assured another. Even the younger ones, like her and Lisa, were either in a relationship with a guy who had gone past the irritating stage, or were looking for one.

She’d never expected her life to turn out like this, despite her parents telling that one day she’d have good friends. And she did, and all because she’d done the right thing, and stuck by her best friend. He’d paid her back so much for such a small display of loyalty.

“Here,” she said, hanging the money to Aurora.

“Thanks. Wish me luck; I’ll let you know what’s happening.”

“Good luck,” Hermione said.

Aurora turned and strolled out of the Common Room.

“I guess we should head to class,” Hermione said with a sigh. She was a little surprised to realise that she’d rather spend the rest of the day with her friends.

  • Previous
  • Next

Author Notes:

Huge thanks to Luan Mao for betaing this for me - and challenging me about several points. And to Kokopelli who took time out of more important things to sweep in like Batman, catch the typos I'd made from the first beta, and vanish once more into the ether.

If you're wondering, then yes, I did choose Kick-Boxing when I started with this fic to get Harry and Dudley in the ring together. Of course, it was massively unfair, but closure is an important thing.

So, not everything is hunky dory with Harry and Dawn, but how much so and why will be in the next chapterr, along with a lot more of the fallout from Harry's mood and from the anthropomisation of Dawn. That sort of thing doesn't happen witrhout repercussions.. And we will finally get to another plot point from the summary.

You can acronymise the girl's school.

I've got a lot of stuff to go through and post, and very little time to do it - and I'm still in the mode where if I get time, I'd rather spend that time writing. I will make the effort to get things going again. Next up will hopefully be a Xander/Faith story (Not that BtVS has much of an audience these days), followed by a new chapter of Perfect SLytherins, then some Naruto stuff. Whether I bother to post some of the more out-there stuff I've written, I've yet to decide.